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5 Best American Football Movies of All Time

The great sport of gridiron is the perfect backdrop for a movie, with player-coach relationships always throwing up interesting dynamics, all set against the varying social issues that players and staff from different backgrounds in the US have to face, as the game becomes so much more than just winning and losing.

Here are some of the greatest movies ever made about one of America’s favorite pastimes, with some being set in the college football arena and others in the world-renowned NFL. Which is your number 1?

Many NFL players act as a mirror for the American dream, showing the general populous exactly the lengths that players from certain backgrounds have to go through to reach the top

Brian’s Song

With the health of football players in the spotlight like never before, with issues such as concussion continuing to plague the league, Brian’s song is every bit as timely and heartfelt as it was back when it was released in 1971.

The story follows two teammates who are brought closer together than either would ever have imagined as one is forced to endure cancer.

Watching a man at the peak of his powers be reduced to a husk by disease is hard to watch, but the movie showed what comradeship in a team is all about and for that reason it makes this list.

The Blind Side

With the new NFL season already up and running, there are plenty of former players and expert NFL tipsters who are already making predictions about which quarterbacks will be prone to getting sacked throughout the rest of the regular season.The Blind Side is all about a player whose job it is to ensure that does not happen to his quarterback, protecting the playmaker’s blindside while overcoming a whole host of personal barriers.

Luckily for the protagonist, Michael Oher, he had his mother guiding him all the way, after her family adopted Oher long before his football career took off. The NFL could do with more stories of kindness and caring such as this one.

Sometimes the best characters in football movies are not the players themselves

Friday Night Lights

To really get a feel for what the game of football means to some otherwise forgotten American towns and provinces, you owe it to yourself to watch Friday Night Lights, a movie that put Billy Bob Thornton in the bear pit of a coaching role, as local tensions run high after the starting quarterback is injured in the team’s first game of the season.

What unfurls is the epitome of what community sport is about, which is probably why the movie garnered its very own spinoff cable television series that ran for five whole seasons.

The Waterboy

Thanks to Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler is making something of a return to the spotlight of late, taking a break from churning out the same old tired comedies packed with dull one-liners.

The Waterboy, however, was really the first of those dumb comedies that sent his career into the stratosphere, choosing to ignore the glitz and glamour of QB or head coach roles to put a football team’s water boy in the spotlight.

As ever with Sandler plenty of jokes were on the nose, but their being offset by some emotionally affecting moments somehow made the movie work. Sandler was panned for his acting in the movie, but his fans still turned out in their droves to catch the picture.

Jerry Maguire

No list such as this would be complete without an appearance from the world’s favorite fictional sports agent, Jerry Maguire, whose character was perfectly carried off by Tom Cruise.

Whereas other movies tend to focus on the relationships between players and coaching staff, this box office hit dared to go into the boardrooms and offices of NFL franchises, to unlock some of the mysteries of how money flows in and out of the game thanks to the wheeling and dealing of predatory sports agents.



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